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Bob Weeks

TSN Senior Reporter

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To say the new Titleist AVX ball, which launched today in the U.S. and will be available on May 2 in Canada, is a surprise would be wrong. To say that it’s an interesting rollout however is a different story.

The new three-piece ball from the company that dominates the ball market falls into the category of soft feel and lots of distance. It’s an area where Callaway has enjoyed success with its Chrome Soft line.

But Titleist never does anything half-baked. So to make sure this ball would meet the needs and standards of golfers, Titleist tested it extensively in three markets last year – Arizona, California and Florida. The balls were on sale in golf shops over a three-month period in those regions and contained a comment card that could be returned for an incentive. The feedback, according to Titleist, was overwhelmingly positive. Now, the rest of the world gets to see what the new AVX is all about.

In a press release, Titleist’s vice-president of golf ball marketing, Michael Mahoney, said: “Golfers have spoken loud and clear about the performance of AVX. While our R&D team is constantly exploring new golf ball technologies, only a limited number of prototypes ever make it past the initial machine- and player-testing phases. AVX stood out from the beginning. Ultimately, it was important to let golfers decide whether this golf ball had a place in our line and the results of our test market were emphatic. Many golfers were waiting for a product like AVX – our lowest flying, lowest spinning and softest feeling high performance golf ball – to help them play their best.”

Now you might be skeptical to think that Titleist would go to such extremes to test a ball to that degree without knowing full well that it would be rolling it out at some point. After all there was a full package design (when many balls are first tested, they are housed in blank white boxes) and there was certainly no effort to keep this under wraps. 

Whatever the motive, however, the ball seems to be delivering. Feedback from those who’ve tried it is positive.

So what’s under the hood of this new ball (which company officials will neither confirm nor deny got its name from a prototype named “Alternative to Pro V1X”). It has a high speed, low compression core that is the engine of the ball. Next to that is a high-flex casing layer the company says enhances speed and controls the spin. And finally there is the proprietary cast urethane cover, which is different than the Pro V1/Pro V1x line.

If you hold this ball up beside a Pro V1, you’ll notice the cover is different as is the dimple pattern. Titleist says the AVX uses a 352 tetrahedral catenary dimple design for aerodynamics. Catenary, for those without a physics degree, is the curve that an idealized hanging chain or cable assumes under its own weight when supported only at its ends (thank you Wikipedia).

Titleist says the ball will fly a little lower than the ProV1 and still offer plenty of distance. It will also, the company says, offer plenty of control on short shots around the greens. It’s available in white and high-optic yellow